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Promotion and consolidation of all RTD activities for renewable distributed generation technologies in the Mediterranean region

Final Report Summary - DISTRES (Promotion and consolidation of all RTD activities for renewable distributed generation technologies in the Mediterranean region)

Recent concerns on environmental protection and sustainable development resulted in the critical need for a cleaner energy technology. Some potential solutions have evolved including energy conservation through improved energy efficiency, a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and an increase in the utilisation of environmentally friendly energy forms. This is leading to the use of renewable energy sources (RESs) and an alternative to large-scale source of energy production known as distributed generation (DG) technologies.

The overall goal of the DISTRES coordination action project was to exchange and disseminate good practice developed in the field of RES-DG technologies by isolated research activities and perform studies and/or analyses for the Mediterranean needs. DISTRES was a three-year coordination action (January 2007–December 2009). Several promising RES-DG technologies have been identified as having the potential to significantly contribute to the reduction of primary (e.g. SO2, NOx, dust) emissions and of CO2 emissions. However, solar potential is an abundant commodity in the Mediterranean region and, therefore, the area of interest of DISTRES was primarily on the electricity produced from solar energy (photovoltaic and/or solar thermal concentrating systems) from DG systems.

DISTRES contributed to the promotion of RES-DG technologies and policies while safeguarding the environment and thus, has application at a pan-European level. In particular DISTRES responded to EU policies at a number of different levels, such as promoting the use of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, promoting RES-DG technologies including green hydrogen based systems (hydrogen as an energy carrier is one of the key technology sectors identified by the EU for the Union's long-term competitiveness and strength of the European economy with a clear goal of providing Europe with a realistic and economically viable route to a green hydrogen economy), helping to encourage the development of a European hydrogen economy, thus maintaining the ability of Europe's energy supply infrastructure to smooth the increasingly fluctuating supply/demand balance inherent in an increasing dependence on renewable energy sources, and contributing to the efforts of the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and thereby acting constructively in terms of the global climate change issue.

It was intended that the results of DISTRES will be made widely available, both during and after completion of the coordination action. The work programme of DISTRES included three workshops, a conference, the development of capacity building methodologies, the creation of a website, newsletters and a press release. In addition, DISTRES partners accepted and authorised the Commission to disseminate relevant project information, including summaries and public project results, names and contact details of consortium partners through the visual, oral and electronic media.

The final results of DISTRES were disseminated through a conference, which was organised at the end of the coordination action. The aim was to disseminate DISTRES results to interested parties, such as, end users, regulators, manufacturers, investors, researchers and utilities, from both the EU and the Mediterranean countries. At the same time, the conference aimed to highlight the importance of research and development for the future penetration of DG solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) systems in the power electricity generation industry in Mediterranean countries. The conference was open to other academic and/or electricity related researchers to present their work in the field of DG solar thermal and PV systems. Relevant work was also published to scientific journals.

The conference greatly surpassed the participation objectives by attracting over 150 participants from 19 different countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Cyprus, Greece, US, Spain, etc. Participants represented a wide range of energy stakeholders including regulators, manufacturers, investors, researchers and utilities. Over 80 scientific papers were submitted to the conference secretariat, and after a two-stage review, 58 papers were accepted for presentation and for inclusion into the conference proceedings together with a number of keynote presentations delivered by distinguished scientists in the field of renewable energy sources and specifically solar thermal power.

Within DISTRES, capacity building methodologies targeted to different stakeholders of the energy business in the Mediterranean region were set up with tools that strengthened the stakeholders' capability to detect opportunities and market solutions for the implementation of RES-DG technologies. These tools were generic enough to cover any issue of an investment decision making in renewable DG investment, despite the diversity of the multiple stakeholders and their complex interactions. The external validation of the capacity building methodologies was carried out in the form of a trial run for all programmes with stakeholders (end users, regulators, manufacturers, investors, researchers and utilities). This event took place during the final progress meeting and Conference, by means of a dedicated trial run/tutorial session. The capacity building methodologies were developed in the English language. After taking into account the feedback loop of the trial run, further industrialisation and dissemination beyond the project can be envisaged in native languages of the partner countries.

A website dedicated to DISTRES was developed with public and partners area implementing the following issues:
(a) project overview area,
(b) events area with information on workshops, lectures etc.,
(c) publications area with brochures, newsletters, public reports and executive summaries, workshop proceedings and papers,
(d) technology information area with documentation on RES and in particular solar systems,
(e) links area with links to other RES and DG projects and other useful information,
(f) private area (for project partners only – for internal meetings, documents that are of restricted use, etc.).

The website was continuously updated until the end of the project, with new information throughout the project and was a valuable instrument for dissemination of the project results to the general public. Also, the DISTRES website included a section with links to various pages containing information on RES policies of various countries.

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